Saturday, April 29, 2006

Could We Stop Screaming Long Enough to Fix the Problem?

Everyone is all up in arms about the gas prices. I keep hearing about price gouging and profit taking. You can’t catch a news break without someone pointing out the huge profits being reeled in by the various oil giants.
Does anyone happen to remember that these are publicly traded companies that are obligated to return a profit to their investors? Does anyone happen to mention that this “Huge” profit is only about 8-9% and about 75% of that will return to the stock holders as dividends? These stock holders will only end up with about a 5% return on their investment. These returns are pretty meager when compared against some of the software giants and their 15-20% returns. I recently saw a sign up at the local bank offering CDs at just below this rate, no risk.
We have many talking heads simply looking at the bigness of the number and not penciling out the actual earnings. They keep shouting about record numbers and such. How can these learned individual overlook something so obvious. Once again we have a case of being caught up in the emotion of something. I know when I go to the gas station I have a bit of an emotional reaction myself. The point is, I get past that and look at the reality of the situation. I know none of this makes you feel any better, but we need to get at the real problem.
The real reason for our high gas prices need to be dealt with. The first is our environmental laws. We have let environmental fever run amuck and destroy our own ability to meet our needs. We have the “Not in my backyard” syndrome as well as good plans being “What if’d“ to death. One thing that can be said about us here in the USA is that we are scientifically advanced. We have come up with all sorts of ways to both avoid and deal with problems. Yet to hear many of these groups speak you would think that the only purpose is to destroy and pollute the landscape. Many of these companies are excellent neighbors and should be welcomed into our communities. They offer quality jobs and return big benefits to the communities they are in.
Next we need to look at capacity. I am sure that many of you have read or heard that we haven’t built any new refineries in almost thirty years. Many of you may even have seen stories about refineries removed over this same time line. Much of this falls on the environmental groups. Not only have they kept us from building they often devoted themselves to having what we have, removed. This needs to be turned around right away. Many communities have mandated boutique blends of gas that deal with various environmental issues, further incapacitating what few refineries we have. We need to build more refineries to deal with demand, while we also work toward limiting these special blends in an effort to maximize output. When we do decide to build, we also need to take into account the location. Most of our current refineries are along the gulf coast. Hurricanes constrict our capacity to produce every year. Katrina is still holding back production in several facilities.
Finally, the biggest issue is access to crude oil. We have limited ourselves to such a degree our only choice is to buy from outside our nation. Notice that does not suggest we don’t have enough to meet our needs it simply points to the fact that we won’t let ourselves access it. We instead buy it from nations who are often hostile to us. We have placed ourselves at the whims of those who don’t have our best interests as heart. Our poor management of our energy needs has funded those who stand against us today. Our lack of future planning has also failed to account for the demand placed on these same resources by India and China. The supply and demand curve has quite a few more players, hence the price shift.

Let me address some of these issues. We need to stop strangling ourselves and start utilizing our resources. We have the talent, no how and resources to solve what is causing the problem. We need to start drilling in our own backyard. Look, Cuba is planning to drill only about 50 miles off the Florida coast. We should already be there. The Pacific coast has got vast oil reserves, but once again we need to untie our hands.
Next we need another refinery. The east coast is pretty tapped out as far as buildable land and deep water access to bring in tankers of oil. The Gulf and its frequent weather problems have got more then enough. That leaves the Pacific coast. There is one port under utilized and ideally suited. That port is Coos Bay Oregon. Former logging and milling has left much of its ports empty. The bay offers deep water access as well as immediate available land for building a refinery. The opening of our west coast and ANWR for oil drilling will give it plenty to do. Railroad access is even there to help distribute products all across America.

We need solutions people. We may not be able to fix the here and now, but what about tomorrow. Does anyone offer a plan to deal with our future needs? Alternative energy sources will be our distant future but in the mean time, can we do something about the problem.

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Corporations-Do You Know What Your Investment is Doing?

Corporations are the back bone of American business. There are good and bad examples just as there are good and bad in every other category. The corporations as a whole are not bad; there are a few bad apples that ruin the batch. Most corps are under fifty employees and have simply incorporated to take advantage of the various personal protections under the provision.
A corporation much like a baby is its own entity and can be given various benefits just like you as an individual can acquire. These benefits can include a credit rating and various buying power leverage. This leverage is not necessarily reliant on the cash worthiness of the owners but on the same basic merits of any regular individual. One could argue their merit is better for the reason of eternal life. A corp does not die with the owners. It can be passed on or sold in various forms. This longevity does offer some additional benefits when being considered for long-term credit obligations such as buildings or equipment.
Under the corp provisions in the US many of us can partake in public corporations. We can buy and sell shares as participants in ownership. With every share also comes the right to vote or have say in a company and its actions. Many stock owners sign proxies that give their voting rights to others and some just don’t participate in the process. Just like our political system, the few who participate make all the rules and set the courses for company business.
Our armchair politics and unwillingness to get off the sofa and make something of our vote is affecting our country in many ways. We are seeing the morality and direction of our country and business world eroding. As well as we are witnessing a complete disconnect from our political candidates. Some poles have placed only 40% of Americans at the voting booth. I would not be surprised if over half of those who show up are from special interest categories. How are we going to reclaim America if you are letting the minority special interest groups make all your decisions for you? We are doing it at the voting booth in both political and corporate arenas.
You the voter can make a lot of changes in many ways. The next time you get a proxy request send it back with “NO” checked as your option. Failure to respond to many of these automatically approves your proxy. Don’t be robbed of your vote. This is your investment and you should make sure you are satisfied with the direction it takes. Look over the options and investigate the candidates. Most Corporate sites do a fair job of mini bios. E-mail the company and ask questions. Try to achieve some satisfaction.
We can change America Politically and Corporately. You have the power, now use it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

What is your citizenship to the USA worth?

Before I go off on this, let me first point to the signers of the Declaration Of Independence.

I wondered how many of the LEADERS of today would stand UP for their Country as these 56 did, knowing that when they signed their name they signed their death Certificate.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured .

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

Many died to make and hold this country together as the United States of America. I regrettably must inform you that many more will choose this path. You see, Freedom Isn't Free. The sacrifices of freedom are many. No matter the uniform or the date, there are those who have stepped out and saved our nation. Sometimes it is in small ways such as your local police or fire fighter. Sometimes it is in big ways such as each of our branches of military as they marched in war to save our nation for us here today.

The cost of freedom is being exacted each and every day. Under our current law there are only two ways to gain access to the USA. The lucky ones are born here and have the full right to partake in all. The second way is through great struggle and toil, where by you are deemed worthy and given this gift at a cost through our rules of law. Those who have done it legally have no doubt in the cost of this gift and humbly give all for it.

Yet, there are those who would make a mockery of the process. There are they who offer a slap in the face to those who gained legal access. Many have willingly given everything they had to be part of this nation. Could you put a price on your citizenship? What if it was legal to sell it on an auction site? How high do you think the bidding would go? At what price are you willing to settle?

Look again at the signers of the Declaration, they knew not what they were giving it all for. Yet they did. YOU know full well the value. Can we sit back and let it be trampled? Do we let it be cheapened so?

Lately we have seen vast marches by mostly Mexican organized groups demanding that we give them what has cost us so dearly. They are unwilling to make any of the sacrifice and have chosen a life of crime to take what we can not freely give.

Yes, I realize that Mexico isn't a nice place. I even realize the vast corruption that consumes the Mexican government. I find it amazing that some of you will still declare loyalty to it. Let me simply ask you this: Who is going to sign your Declaration of Independence? When will you be free?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Where do you live?

I’m betting that most of you who are reading this blog right now live in a home or an apartment. You probably have the bulk of your stuff there and maybe even some idea where most of it is. You probably even have locks on your doors to keep that stuff in and others out. After all, it is your stuff and you should be able to decide who has access to it.
Probably, on a daily basis, you decide who has access and who doesn’t. You decide who gets in and who stays out. It’s your stuff, your place and you should have a right to decide what goes on.
Right now there are those who want to take that right away from you. They don’t want you to be able to decide who has access to your stuff or your place. They are going to try and tell you that you have to let anyone in. They will assure you that they simply are trying to make their lives better and since you have all this stuff you should be willing to share. In fact, if they break in and take your stuff you don’t even need to call the cops. They will politely remind you that these people mean you no harm.
And what if these thieves should decide to just stay at your place? It’s best if you keep the fridge well stocked with the things that they need. They will grow on you and soon you will be offering them all sorts of social improvements; health care, education the whole deal. If you’re lucky they may even kick in a little to help you meet all their needs. After all these are pretty much nice folk. They may even clean the place once in a while. You probably didn’t want to do all the cleaning, so they will do what you won’t do. In just a couple of years you will act as if they are part of the family. You won’t hold all that other stuff against them. Besides you will have grown accustom to all the financial burdens and won’t mind their free use of your stuff.

Would you let me know if you got enough room for a few more? Heck, don’t bother I’ll just come over. Where do you live again?

I want the locks put back on the doors. I want to have some say on who comes in and who gets access to my stuff and my home. America is my home.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Take the Government Away From the Parties

The political candidates have us. The republicans want a slow acceptance of the invaders and the democrats want immediate amnesty for the invaders. This is all a game trying to avoid telling real Americans the truth.
With the big parties in charge what choice do we really have?

Let me suggest something. Those who have the gold have the power. Money is power. Control the flow of money and you can control power. We the people are the source of power. We supply the money. We need to start taking more responsibility with our power. We need to stop giving money to a party and start choosing the candidates ourselves. I don't care what party you affiliate yourself with, you need to start focusing on what you want your government to look like. Right now we have the government our party system wants. The parties get the money and they decide who's name will be on the ballot come November. Stop choosing from the hand picked party hacks and start picking real candidates who represent you. Who represent real Americans.
If you find a good one let everyone know. We should all pass a few power points to the good ones so we can slowly take back what is ours in the first place.

Try these links out.
The People Still Have Power
The People Still Have Power Part II
Thanks to JB Williams for providing us with these thoughts.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Illegal -- What does that mean?

I keep shaking my head. I can't believe that members or our own government are debating any part on illegal aliens. This should be a no brainer, a slam dunk, yet here we are. These people have taken an oath to honor and uphold our constitution and the laws that make us a nation. How many of them can we point to as traitors to the very vow they took? Would they not then be traitors of the nation to which they are called to serve? They stand up there and try to mask the word illegal.

Let's try a different perspective. These people are marching and claiming that we are a bunch of racists. We simply have a prejudice against Mexican/Hispanic people. The problem really comes down to we don't know who is legal and who is illegal. We now look on all as suspicious. There is a 50/50 chance that the person we are looking at is illegal. We have been trained to think less of those who break the law. We incarcerate thousands for illegal entry, burglary and trespassing. If we are to accept the excuse that, these people are only trying to better their lives, should we not free others who choose to also better their lives? So are we prejudice or following the law?